Gotchas When a Technical Person is Promoted to Management Position

Scenario: Nicek is a senior technical leader and got a recent promotion as Project Manager, but was not given appropriate training in PM process. Below is what happened and some advice to avoid the gotchas.

I think, the main problem in the case was the lack of PM focus in company’s work culture. There was no explicit PM process or process methodology followed. Looks like the company liked the idea of cost cutting by making people to do multiple roles without clearly defining their roles and without appropriate motivation and compensation. Nicek’s role was no different. He was assigned the PM, but was never communicated of the PM process that he need to follow to satisfy the management. He was expected to create a ‘quick and dirty’ solution, which he did (within time and cost).

There was lack of secured communication channels. The new PM sends a confidential info. by email and it ends up in disaster.  Nicek became a scapegoat of the eroded PM work culture in the company.

Now, if you ask whether Nicek was a good PM, I would say no – because he lacked experience. This was his first assignment as a PM, and he definitely needed training and catch up on his PM skills. He should have tried to approach the management to seek out what are his roles and responsibilities as a PM and what exactly the upper management expected from him.

The senior management should have focused on better employee training when they promote people from technical ladder to PM level. They should have established minimum PM processes which is well communicated to the Project Managers. PM process should control and coordinate the product development process, not the other way round.